Mar 11 2024
Digital Workspace

How Can Industry Help Federal Agencies Meet New Digital Experience Requirements?

Assistance with new or upgraded technology solutions provides a fast track to modernization.

The Office of Management and Budget has issued official guidelines on how agencies are to meet new requirements to improve the digital experience for federal employees and citizens alike. To meet DX goals, however, partnerships with industry are essential.

Federal CIO Clare Martorana recently emphasized the need for vendors to promote technology solutions that actually align with the OMB guidance, calling it “a framework that reflects the opportunity for a 10-year revenue stream.”

The guidance includes the exact products and services that agencies will need to improve DX, including secure and easily used identity authentication tools, continuous security monitoring, user-controlled feature options and shared digital services.

“Federal websites and digital services should be designed and delivered with users at the center of the experience while also achieving an agency’s business or organizational goals,” states the White House memo, issued last September.

But many agencies may not have the expertise or manpower to implement the guidelines. So, how can industry partners help federal agencies meet these new DX requirements?

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Agencies Work to Adapt New Technology

For one, more technology is available today that takes the worker’s and customer’s digital experiences into account. Industry partners began to re-evaluate their offerings after the pandemic began. Once remote work became common, vendors were forced to innovate and create new features and capabilities to cope with the new normal.

Now, conference room tools are often fitted with microphone arrays that pick up only active speakers, making in-person sidebars less distracting for those online. And if the single conference room camera sits at one end of the table, catching those in the office in profile, it will frame each in-person speaker so that remote workers feel like they’re sitting face to face.

These individual solutions, however, often come packaged in a platform that works at the enterprise or cloud level, and the benefits of these platforms may not be obvious to the agency IT decision-maker at first. Industry partners can guide agencies to the technology that works best for them, helping them avoid overspending or increasing their technical debt.

EXPLORE: Digital collaboration tools power federal employee productivity.

How Your Agency can Achieve Interoperability 

Basic hardware interoperability also plays a role in a good digital experience. A federal employee accustomed to working outside the office may have a mix of tools, such as a personal keyboard and mouse, a government-issued laptop and the local internet provider.

But the quality of these tools will vary from worker to worker. Maybe one’s home internet connection is stronger than what his or her colleagues are using at the office. Perhaps some could not replace the high-definition monitors they were forced to leave behind in 2020. All of this adds to the variability of the digital experience; not everyone is working from the same equipment.

Standardization could be the answer — requiring workers to use 1080p webcams, for instance — but as the average remote worker knows, sometimes your own equipment is better quality than what your employer might provide.

Third-party vendors can help agencies build full equipment packages to be sent home with a remote employee; they already support the infrastructure that makes distance working possible, and could use the same experience to configure the tools in the package for efficient interoperability.

Federal Agencies Roll Out a More Orderly Deployment

In the past, remote workers were in the minority. But today, even with the White House push for federal employees to return to the office, nearly half of them still telework either on a regular or situational basis, according to the latest report from the Office of Personnel Management.

Federal agencies do have a better handle on collaboration tools and DX solutions now than they did in 2020, when the white-collar population was upended into telework with no warning.

But while the focus then was on merely getting the job done and continuing the mission, agencies today are looking for the right way to roll out technology in an orderly manner.

They need to know what solutions, vendors and platforms will help them work in the current environment, and what is possible to future proof, because the world is changing in ways we can’t imagine.

That’s where industry and third-party partners come in. We provide the pre-sales perspective; we’re solution architects. We evaluate and understand where agencies are today and how to get them where they want to go. Agencies looking to comply with the new OMB guidelines shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help.

LEARN MORE: Understanding the details of the OMB guidance.

Photography by Gary Landsman

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